The drought conditions and the spikes in temperature, bringing plenty of triple digit heat already this summer, create conditions favorable to an increase in West Nile Virus activity.
San Joaquin County Mosquito and Vector Control District spokesman Aaron Devencenzi said the lack of water often sees both birds and mosquitoes converging on available sources, coming in closer contact than they would in years where more water is available. That, in turn, can mean a quicker spread of West Nile and the virus can impact a larger portion of both the bird and mosquito population.
The District does routine spraying throughout the county and has already done several treatments in the Escalon and Farmington areas, as well as throughout the county. Typically it is done via ground spraying though some aerial spraying also occurs during the course of the summer.
Spray area information is always posted on the District’s website prior to the spraying operation, at sjmosquito.org
And just because an area hasn’t had any reports of positive mosquitoes or birds, “that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t there,” Devencenzi said, it just might not have been detected yet.
A recent mosquitofish giveaway by the District saw 116 people receive them throughout the seven cities of the county. Mosquitofish can be used in several areas around yards and homes to help keep mosquito populations under control.
“We had 11 people get them in Escalon and that’s probably about average,” Devencenzi said of the distribution that was hosted adjacent to the city’s Community Center. “For those that missed it, they can call us at 209-982-4675 and request fish.”
The mosquitofish are provided free; people can go to the District office at 7759 S. Airport Way in Stockton to pick them up, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or District staff will deliver them.
The district’s website also now has updated West Nile Virus Positive information; with the number of positive tests reported for each week as well as a running total, for both positive mosquito samples and positive dead birds.
The numbers are countywide, not broken down by city.
There are also links on the website to get information on human cases and positive equine information, as well as a link to tips to prevent mosquito bites.